NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, October 31st (All times eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (1-0) at Memphis Grizzlies (0-0), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies open their regular season this evening, as they welcome the defending world champion San Antonio Spurs to FedExForum.
Memphis has a new head coach and a young roster with plenty of potential. The Grizzlies finished a league-worst 22-60 during the 2006-07 campaign, and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time in four years.
New head coach Marc Iavaroni has a roster full of players who have something to prove. One-time All-Star Pau Gasol played in 59 games and led Memphis in scoring (20.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg) in 2006-07, while sharp-shooting Mike Miller averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 boards, 4.3 assists and shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Gasol and Miller headline a roster that also includes forwards Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick and point guard Kyle Lowry. Gay and Lowry will be entering their sophomore seasons in the NBA in 2007-08, while Warrick played in all 82 games and posted 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in his second year in the league.
The Grizzlies grabbed Ohio State's Mike Conley Jr. with the fourth overall pick in the draft. Conley was rated as the best point guard available in the draft, and should make an immediate impact.
Promising forward Darko Milicic signed with the club as a free agent during the summer. Milicic played 80 games for the Orlando Magic last season, starting 16, and averaged a career-best eight points and 5.5 rebounds per contest.
Memphis acquired guard Juan Carlos Navarro, who has been compared to San Antonio's Manu Ginobili, in a trade from Washington, signed free agent guard/forward Casey Jacobsen, and allowed veteran Chucky Atkins to ink a deal with Denver.
The Grizzlies will host the Indiana Pacers on Saturday before hitting the road for a three-game trip. Memphis will visit Seattle, Portland and Utah on the upcoming swing.
San Antonio opened its campaign with a victory. On Tuesday, Tim Duncan scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Spurs over the Portland Trail Blazers, 106-97, at AT&T Center in the season opener for both clubs.
Tony Parker added 19 points for the defending champion Spurs, who lifted the banner and received their rings for winning the fourth NBA title in the last nine seasons. Manu Ginobili added 16 points and eight assists, while Brent Barry netted 12 for San Antonio, which has won 10 straight and 17 of the last 18 against Portland.
The Spurs return home to host the Sacramento Kings on Friday at the AT&T Center.
Veteran forward Forward Robert Horry (personal) is expected to miss tonight's contest. Horry, who has earned seven championship rings, did not play against the Trail Blazers.
San Antonio has won eight of its last 10 against the Grizzlies, who have lost six straight season and home openers.
10/31 10:46:03 ET